This is a story I wrote sometime ago about my mother’s parents and what life was like back in the 1915 throughout their lives.
Much, if not all of their married life was spent in Smithwick. Nancy was a member of the Martin Family from Burnet. I think Delbert was raised primarily in Smithwick.
From this union came 11 children, 3 boys and 8 girls.
They lived on what has always been known to me as the Old Boultinghouse Place, which is a couple of miles east of the Smithwick Cemetery. A quarter of a mile east of Balcones Springs Camp.
Remnants of the old house and fireplaces can still be seen along RR 1431. The house, not large at all for a family of that size, was comprised of 2 halves. One side had the kitchen (of course some cooking was done outside, too) and a dining area, but also doubled as a sleeping area. The other side was the bedroom. The way I remember it, there was just one big room but accommodated several beds and room for pallets on the floor as well. Each side had a large fireplace.
Between to two rooms was an open breezeway, or a dog run as it was called. During seasons that allowed for it, beds, cots and pallets would be brought out there to get a breeze when there was one.
The place was comprised of 303 acres. They raised livestock and fowl as well as areas for growing crops. Besides eating what they raised on the land, they hunted and fished. Game of all types was plentiful. The Colorado River was only a mile or so from the house and there were a lot of catfish caught.
Up the creek from the house under the a huge grove of oak trees was Delbert’s sorghum molasses mill. People from all around that raised cane and sweet sorghum would bring it there to be pressed and the juices cooked to make syrup and molasses. The press was turned using horses or mules traveling around and around in a circle attached to long pole which extended from the center of the mill.
Fires were built and huge iron pots were suspended above to cook the juices.
There was an abundance of cedar in that area, which was used for fence posts and other building needs. The Boultinghouse men were all involved in the chopping of cedar right up until WW 2 started.
The following is a link to a story about Cedar Choppin.
Back during the Depression Era, when times got very hard, Grandpa Delbert took a job up in Arkansas to make ends meet. He was working in a sawmill, where he had an accident. The result was the loss of a leg.
Upon retuning his health was never much good after that. He passed away when his youngest daughter was but 4 years old. Most of the girls were still were still at home and the War was going on so, times were hard, to say the least.
Grandma Nancy was a hardworking old gal and always had a positive outlook. She stayed with it for several more years there on the place, with family members that were away sending money to help and a great deal of perseverance. Around the later 40s, she and the younger girls moved to Austin where she got a job cooking at the State Hospital at Guadalupe & 38th St. She continued to work and live in central Austin until the girls were all married off a decade or so later.
After that she came to live with us near Jollyville, Tx. for several years until we all returned to Smithwick in 1964. She spent time with her kids with extended visits to California & Texas until she passed away in 1972.
This is a link to more about Grandma Nancy:
My apologies. Some of the links may not work if you aren’t on Facebook.